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    The Hardest Part is How to Start

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    In this exercise for creative writing, I have established some criteria for writing the opening paragraph for a short story. Beginning a story is the most difficult aspect of creating a short story, where space is limited, and where development needs to occur in the first paragraph. It will help the writer understand what is most important about his or her short story, making believable characters, establishing tension and conflict, and setting the story's mood and atmosphere through specific places.

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    Solution Preview

    How to Begin a Short Story


    Allen Learst

    One of the most difficult parts to writing a short story is the beginning. Many novice writers struggle with opening paragraphs. Here are a few suggestions:

    -A short story has a limited amount of space to work with. Contemporary short stories almost always introduce their important characters in the first paragraph, which should lead you to consider developing no more than two to three characters.
    -Your characters need to be developed in the opening of the story by creating characteristics your reader will not forget. Simply naming them isn't enough.
    -You can make your characters ...

    Solution Summary

    Beginning a short story is very difficult. There are many things to consider. This exercise will help you understand what's needed to begin an effective paragraph that will capture your reader's attention, develop your character(s), and think about placing them in a setting.